Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Please consider the below excerpt.

'How long is your break?' I shouted. A group of labourers sat under the banyan tree near the main campus building. 'It's two-thirty, lunch ended an hour ago'
The workers tightened their turbans. They picked up their brushes and moved to the classrooms, I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of _______ up the men every two hours.

I need some help to figure it out correct word to fill the blank among the below set of words. I am giving words along with their meanings those I have found in Oxford English Dictionary. How different word changes if I use one instead another?

haul = (of a person) pull or drag with effort or force.
Drag = pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficult.

share|improve this question
    
@Fortiter: THanks for your answers. My question is how the meaning of the sentence changes if I use on of the other word. –  Hanu Dec 23 '12 at 7:46
    
The fact that the answers suggested do not use one of your options suggests that NEITHER is appropriate for placing before "up" in your sample sentence. –  Fortiter Dec 23 '12 at 12:30
add comment

5 Answers

Neither of the two words you have selected are appropriate in the context you are using them in.

Are you physically having to drag or pull the men back to work? If so, either of those words would work, but only if you are physically dragging them back to work.

You'll notice in your word meanings, both say haul a person or pull someone they can only be used if you are physically pulling a person.

In your sample text you suggest that you are verbally encouraging them back to work, ('How long is your break?' I shouted.) if that is the case then chivvy would be a better word to use -

From OED -

chivvy, v.1

To harry, harass, trouble, worry.

In use -

Doris..and I chivvied the chicken around till we caught her.

...exhausted by my daily ritual of chivvying up the men every two hours.

The word up is not strictly necessary and would work with or without it.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for getting right to the problem, and explaining word choice through commonly-accepted usage. –  Zayne S Halsall Jan 20 '13 at 8:00
add comment

1) I rather like "herding the cats." The idea is that cats are very independent and don't take well to being told what to do, and will scatter and go their own way if forced. You can herd cattle, sheep, or horses because they are group animals which naturally follow a leader and respond to goading from behind.

I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of herding the cats every two hours.

2) just use "rounding."

I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of rounding up the men every two hours.

3) Extend the cattle/sheep/horse image.

I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of rounding up the men and corralling them back to work every two hours.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for detailing the character behaviour that could determine the choice of phrase. –  Zayne S Halsall Jan 20 '13 at 7:59
add comment

I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of dragooning the men every two hours.

Although a dragoon was originally a member of a heavy cavalry unit, the use of such forces to impose the will of a conqueror on unwilling people led to the use of dragooning to mean "demanding compliance by threat or coercion".

In recent times, the meaning has softened as it was used for exaggerated effect. "I was dragooned into helping with the childrens' bath time."

In that sense, it is suitable for your case where there is certainly a lack of cooperation but the resistance is passive.

share|improve this answer
    
ooh, I like yours better than mine. –  Lauren Ipsum Dec 23 '12 at 13:13
add comment

The workers tightened their turbans. They picked up their brushes and moved to the classrooms, I remained under the banyan tree, exhausted by my daily ritual of marshalling up the men every two hours.

share|improve this answer
add comment
rounding up
assembling
collecting
dragooning
gathering
mustering
marshalling
corraling, herding, driving

I think "dragoon" is a wonderfully descriptive term, and has the sense of forcing someone to do service that many of the other terms lack (though supplied here by context in the passage). I don't know how many people would understand it today, but it'd probably be my first choice as well.

I don't think "marshal" fits quite as well as some other choices.

If the word "up" must remain, I favor "collecting", "gathering", "mustering", and "corralling" the best. I don't think either "hauling up" or "dragging up" fits well at all.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.